Probe of Sitka police finds no wrongdoing

Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2002

SITKA - An investigation of the Sitka Police Department has found no criminal misconduct, despite allegations earlier this year that the department broke the law dozens of times.

Anchorage District Attorney Susan Parkes released her report earlier this month after reviewing findings by the Alaska State Troopers. Parkes concluded there is no basis for criminal charges against any employees of the department.

The investigation began after the city placed Police Chief Bill McLendon on paid administrative leave after a consultant accused the police of nearly a dozen violations of the law.

Forensic scientist Brent Turvey said in a letter that police ignored domestic violence claims involving officers and publicized confidential information regarding an unsolved murder case on an Internet message board.

Turvey also alleged police tampered with public records by destroying photo IDs of Turvey and of Lt. John Baeza.

McLendon resigned as Sitka police chief prior to the investigation.

In a May 21 letter, Parkes wrote there is no basis for any criminal charges and that "many of the allegations and counter-allegations appeared to have been fueled by personal grievances."

The review was referred to a district attorney outside town since the local district attorney works daily with Sitka police officers, Parkes said.

Current Sitka Police Chief Bob Gorder said the department has been exonerated.

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